A wonderful story of friendship of a Georgian artist and a legendary designer Coco Chanel
08 March, 2019
A wonderful story of friendship of a Georgian artist and a legendary designer Coco Chanel
Two years ago, a book dedicated to the anniversary of Chanel Brand was published in France; one of the large chapters of the book describes the life and work of a Georgian artist Ilia Zdanevich.

Currently, a project aiming at the preparation of an exhibition and a catalog - Iliazd
and Picasso is underway; the project is being organized and financed by the House of Chanel. Ilia Zdanevich’s first wife was a model of the legendary designer and Coco Chanel was a godmother of one of his children… How can we describe the friendship of Iliazd with Chanel and Picasso; readers will learn about the most interesting details of this friendship from the interview given by Nana Shervashidze – an art critic to AMBEBI.GE:

While visiting Paris in October 1921, Ilia Zdanevich lived in an apartment which belonged to Mikhail Larionov, address: # 43, rue de Seine, Paris. Larionov organized Iliazd’s meeting with Russian artists, authors, and painters living in Paris. It was there that he met Picasso, Robert and Sonia Delaunay – the Dadaists. However, Paris was a disappointment for Ilia. Parisian artistic life differed greatly from the images of Paris he had in his mind; but Ilia, who was innately active, organized a conference and gave a public lecture - "NEW SCHOOLS IN RUSSIAN POETRY" in the French language, two weeks after his arrival in Paris, in the house belonging to a famous singer - Maria Olenina-d'Alheim.

After a while, Ilia found himself completely broke, but soon he accepted an offer from Sonia Terk-Delaunay - Robert Delaunay’s wife, who was from Ukraine. His task was to design textile patterns. The design of Vera Sudeikina's well-known dress, based on a Zaum verse in Russian and French languages, belongs to Iliazd. In 1925, Iliazd became a chairman of the Association of Russian Artists in Paris. He was one of the organizers and an artistic designer of Russian charity event – fancy-dress parties in Paris.

The grave of Ilia Zdanevich in Leuville
zdanevich_grave
In 1927 Iliazd was registered as a textile designer in the official registry of the Paris Chamber of Commerce. Sonia Delaunay recommended him for a job at a textile factory belonging to Mimi Blak Belair – a nephew of one of Picasso’s muses - Mizzi Certo; in 1928 the textile factory was purchased by ‘Tissus Chanel’ – a world-famous Chanel textile company. Iliazd became the head of the main graphics bureau of Coco Chanel’s enterprise. The artist, using geometric ornaments characteristic of abstract art, managed to bring Chanel Jersey fabric patterns to perfection.
chanel
Soon, Ilia Zdanevich and Coco Chanel became close friends. Coco Chanel became a godmother of Michel - a daughter born to Ilia Zdanevich and his wife Axelle Brocard (the first photo shows Ilia and Axelle). In 1928 Iliazd received a patent for weaving machinery, later purchased by Chanel Company. All the factories owned by Chanel had the weaving machines designed by Iliazd. While working with Coco Chanel, Iliazd met a graphic artist Paul Iribe, a composer Igor Stravinsky; in 1932, the latter composed a piece of music dedicated to Iliazd. Ilia had friendly relations with the great-grandson of Victor Hugo - Francois Hugo, who worked with Chanel as a button designer.

In 1932, Ilia was put in charge of organizing production and designing sketches for new models in a Chanel factory located in the city of Metz in the north of France. Iliazd participated in the establishment of a Chanel fabric factory in Britain, for which he traveled to London and Birmingham. The enterprise soon faced problems due to the economic crisis. Iliazd had a disagreement with the management of the enterprise with regard to the plan envisaging a reduction of the salaries of workers, he was against the implementation of the plan. In order to solve the problem, he even offered the management of the enterprise to cut their own salaries up to 60%. On March 2, Ilia sent a letter of protest to Coco Chanel. The conflict went on and became difficult to solve, but in the end, it was solved.

Iliazd in Paris
chanel
In 1933, Iliazd sent his children to Cartagena, Spain, to the house belonging to one of Coco Chanel’s servants. In December, Iliazd had a disagreement with one of the administrators of the factory, who accused him of stealing some material from Metz Factory. After a two-month investigation, the court pled him not guilty. Iliazd left the work and received quite a large amount of compensation for moral damage, and the right to live in a house near the Asnières-sur-Seine Factory until April 1934. He still had strong friendly feelings and respect for Coco Chanel. “I need great courage to realize separation with you after so many years of close cooperation. During this cooperation, I appreciated your genius and I would like to express my gratitude to you for your desire to respect and value my work. Believe me, good memories about our relationship and cooperation will stay with us for a long time.” – Iliazd wrote to Coco Chanel.

In 1940, Zdanevich began publishing books of Livre d’artiste (artistic book) and during his life, he published about 20 books of this type. These books were published in small quantities and printed on old or rare paper. The first addition of Livre d’artiste was the collection of classical sonnets in Russian language Афат/Afat, which Iliazd dedicated to his friend – Joanne Spencer. The collection of 76 sonnets is illustrated with Picasso’s six engravings. This collection was the beginning of a long-term creative union between Iliazd and Picasso. Out of the 64 copies of the collection, six are dedicated copies and one of them was dedicated to Coco Chanel.

Picasso and Iliazd
iliazad_picasso
This copy of “Afat” included the 77th sonnet dedicated to Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel cherished this collection and kept it in the library of her house in Paris - 31, Cambrai Street.

Related stories:

Georgian models who worked with Coco Chanel

Georgian Mother and Daughter Who Were Exclusive Models for Coco Chanel

Mystery behind Chanel No 5 – exhibition of perfume in Paris

“Just pearls, pearls and more pearls” – Chanel 2013 Collection at Paris Fashion Week
Print
Other Stories
"Georgian Wine is a Great Discovery"- Andrew Jefford
Georgian wine producers participated in the international wine and spirits exhibition held in Paris, France.
Apollo Magazine about State Silk Museum Tbilisi
The English language monthly magazine Apollo covering visual arts of all periods from antiquity to present day publishes an article about the State Silk Museum in Tbilisi.
"The film has certainly picked up acclaim"-Vogue about "And Then We Danced"
Fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue publishes an article about the Swedish-Georgian movie titled "And Then We Danced" directed by Levan Akin.
Shopping Hotspot in Barcelona Created by Georgian Designer
Metal Magazine publishes an article about a shopping hotspot Darial created by a Georgian fashion designer Djaba Diassamidze, who has also established his own atelier there.
Georgian Actress taking part in New York play festival
According to Georgian media holding Kvira Georgian actress, Anna Cherkezishvili participated in New York ten minute play-festival.
Tbilisi takes third place in the best destinations of Europe 2020
Tbilisi, the capital city of Georga took third place in the international competition "The Best Destinations of Europe 2020."
Story of Winery that received first Bio Certificate in Georgia
It is said Iago’s Wine is one of the few wines which makes you admit that wine can be red, white, pink and now amber as well.
New virus is to strengthen our faith, says Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia
"A new virus has emerged and many people are scared of this virus. Some have called it the "deadly virus."
Top 5 must-listen Georgian folk songs
The folk music of Georgia consists of at least fifteen regional styles. Georgian folk music is predominantly vocal and is widely known for its rich traditions of vocal polyphony
Hotel Heritage Hotel & Suites opens in Tbilisi
Hotel Heritage Hotel & Suites was opened in Tbilisi, Saint-Petersburg street 6.
Livescore yesterday and the “Goddess” from Bergamo
The inhabitants of Bergamo have long been waiting for the triumph of their football team.
“Holiday Factory pioneered Georgia in the UAE to become famous”
Holiday Factory was officially announced as The Best Incoming Tour Operator 2019 at Welcome To Georgia! National Tourism Award event held in Sheraton Grand Metekhi Palace in Tbilisi on Friday, Dec 6th.
Kavkaz Jazz Festival presents: 22nd and 23rd of November, Tbilisi Music Forum and Showcase.
It is the first year for Tbilisi Music Forum and Showcase. Main goal of the event is development of music industry in Georgia and South Caucasus region.
Sam Raan Spa-Center named Best Spa in Europe
The Sam Raan Spa-Center has been named the Best Spa in Europe at the annual Haute Grandeur Global Spa Awards 2019 and won the following nominations:
Region’s Largest Startup Event to be Held in Tbilisi
On November 8-10, 2019, regional Startup Grind event will be held in Tbilisi.
Georgian royal family introduces new wine brand "Prince Ioane Bagrationi"
Member of the Georgian royal family Prince Ioane Bagrationi introduced the society new wine brand named after him - "Prince Ioane Bagrationi".
Georgia Celebrates Day of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral today

The day of Mtskheta city and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is celebrated on 14 October in Georgia.

Georgian Wine Festival 2019 to be held on October 12 on the Shardeni street
Those who are interested and want to know more about Georgian wine can attend Georgian Wine Festival 2019 on October 12 on the Shardeni street. Event starts at 12 pm and lasts till 7 pm.
UNESCO names Tbilisi as Capital of World Book 2021
UNESCO has named Tbilisi as the Capital of the World Book 2021.
Robot Mzia’s preparation for First global – she plays basketball and does pull ups
After the famous robot Vano, Robot Mzia is preparing for the international competition “First Global.”
What comes after Frankfurt? Paris!
The year following the appearance as guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair is known as a difficult one. What are the strategies of Georgian publishers for 2019?
Georgia has its first photography museum
With the Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum (TPMM) Georgia has its first institution entirely dedicated to the contemporary image in its different forms – photography, new media, and video.
„The eighth life“ has arrived home
More than 100'000 Germans have already read it, the Dutch and Polish as well. But it was only last May that Nino Haratischwili's “The eighth life for Brilka” was translated for Georgian readers.
“We will fight for Georgian literature”
One year after Georgia’s well received appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the organizational mastermind, Medea Metreveli, lost her job. Now she's coming up with a new project.
Los Angeles Times about Khatia Buniatishvili – “A genuine musical personality”
Los Angeles Times has recently reviewed the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebration at the Hollywood Bowl marking Gustavo Dudamel’s 10 years with the orchestra.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.02.2020
22.02.2020
USD
1
USD
2.8265
2.8299
EUR
1
EUR
3.0515
3.0571
GBP
1
GBP
3.6405
3.6537
RUB
100
RUB
4.4316
4.3980